The Federal Government says it will not allow any fresh protest at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, saying security operatives are ready to guide against violence.
After the Lagos Judicial Panel probing the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 gave the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) approval to repossess the tollgate, there was outrage across the country.
To demonstrate against the action of the panel, some Nigerians scheduled a protest for Saturday, February 13, 2021.
But at a press conference on Thursday, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, warned those planning the protest.
Referring to the carnage across Lagos during the #EndSARS protests, the minister said the government would not fold its arms and watch Lagos “burn again”.
He said, “As you may be aware, some EndSars proponents have given notice of their plan to return to Lagos – Lekki Toll Gate to be specific – on Saturday, February 13th 2021. The ”Occupy Lekki Toll Gate” flyers have been circulating online, with the proponents threatening that ”Lagos will burn” again.
“Never again will the Federal Government allow the kind of violence that was perpetrated across the country under the guise of the EndSars last October. Never again will anyone or group be allowed to destroy cities or to kill and maim innocent citizens, including security agents, under any guise.
“The EndSars campaign last October started as a peaceful protest against police brutality. As a government that believes in the constitutionally-guaranteed right of citizens to engage in peaceful protests, the Federal Government did nothing to hinder the protests for as long as they remained peaceful.
“The trillion-Naira destruction of Lagos, in particular, remains too fresh a wound. Hundreds, including the youth, lost their livelihoods to the wanton attacks in Lagos. The burnt wreckage of public buses that were wantonly set ablaze by rampaging hoodlums remain in their positions as a sad and gory reminder of the unprecedented attacks. The city is still reeling from the war-like destruction.
“For those who are using justice as an alibi for another round of destruction, let me say this: As we speak, the Judicial Panels of Inquiry, set up across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings, with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units, are continuing with the assignments. In Lagos, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry has an added responsibility of investigating the incident of October 20th at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“Like we have said many times, anyone who has any information on the alleged shooting or purported massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, including the names and addresses of those who were purportedly killed, should head to the Panel to give it such information. This is how to enhance the search for justice, not by rabble rousing or engaging in media shows.
“However, any further resort to violence in the name of EndSars will not be tolerated this time. The security agents are ready for any eventuality. A situation in which six soldiers and 37 policemen were murdered in cold blood by hoodlums will not repeat itself. The attack, looting and razing of 269 private and public property will not happen again. The killing of 57 civilians will not be re-enacted.
“We therefore strongly warn those who are planning to re-occupy Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday to desist. We know that many of those who have been loudest on social media in advertising the plan to reconvene in Lagos on Saturday are not even in Nigeria. They are elsewhere around the world fanning the embers of violence and inciting gullible people back home. No one should fall for their antics.
“The Federal Government is also keenly watching the role being played by the various social media platforms in this renewed clamour for violence in the country. Recall that the social media platforms that eagerly nudged on the EndSars protesters, until the situation got out of hand, are the same ones that quickly pulled the plug on even their own President when the chips were down in their own country.”
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